Northern Pride signs Super import Dalle Cort
THE Northern Pride has made another addition to what is quickly shaping as a Rolls Royce backline, signing former Super League centre Mark Dalle Cort to an already talent-laden squad.
A member of the North Queensland Cowboys’ squad from 2003-2006 and Queensland Cup premiership winner with the Young Guns, Dalle Cort will reunite with several former teammates when he arrives in Cairns on Monday.
Pride operations manager Chris Sheppard said the 27-year-old centre was a great signing with plenty of pace and a "fair bit of skill".
"He’s a quality player so we definitely jumped at the opportunity to sign him," Sheppard said.
Dalle Cort, who like front-rower Jaiman Lowe has signed a one-year deal with the Pride, said he was "stoked" to be heading to Cairns.
His career was forced into limbo earlier this year when he was among six Australian players deported from Britain after a UK Border Agency investigation found they breached visa regulations.
The players were ordered to leave Wales, where they were playing with the Celtic Crusaders and have been banned from entering Britain for the next 10 years.
"It was a bit of a slap in the face," Dalle Cort said.
"To have 18 days to pack up your life and move is a big thing. It’s not something you’d expect to happen usually. It was a huge shock."
North Queensland-born Dalle Cort admitted he had been worried about his footballing future after the incident.
"I’m only 27 and I was just starting to hit my peak over there and I was starting to play good footy," he
"I’ve basically been without pay since August/September.
"It was stressful not to know what was going on with the future."
The players’ union in the UK is working with its Australian equivalent on an appeal, or at least a reduction in the length of the ban from Britain.
The timing of the players’ deportation meant they were unable to seal playing deals for 2009 and with most clubs having already finalised their 2010 rosters, pickings were looking slim.
But Dalle Cort jumped at the chance to link with the Pride.
"I’ve played with a few of the guys (at the Young Guns) and when I found out there was going to be all that crowd up there – I mean, they’re all good players as well – it was a big drawcard."
The Pride’s link with the Cowboys was another strong attraction for Dalle Cort.
"It’d still be great to play for the Cowboys but my immediate goal is to play great in the Queensland Cup and help them to a premiership hopefully," he said.
Dalle Cort arrives in Cairns on Monday to start pre-season training with the Pride.
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